Missouri Baptist Conference of the Deaf to celebrate 50 years at March confab
February 8, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) has published a history of the Missouri Baptist Conference of the Deaf (MBCD).
With the title, 50 Years of Encouragement: A History of the Missouri Baptist Conference of the Deaf, it will be available after March 1. The book, written by George B. Joslin, will be one of the highlights of the 50th anniversary of the deaf conference meeting at Memorial Baptist Church, Jefferson City, March 18-19.
The Missouri Baptist Conference of the Deaf (MBCD) was established by deaf people in 1955. It has met annually most of the past 50 years at various locations including 25 years at Windermere Baptist Conference Center and eight years at the Baptist Building in Jefferson City. The program at the MBCD conference has featured training, inspiration, and fellowship for deaf persons and their hearing friends from churches across Missouri.
MBCD is not an agency of Missouri Baptists. It was organized by deaf people to help them grow as Christians and to help them develop ministries for deaf persons in their churches. The newly published history book shows that through the years the leaders of MBCD have worked closely with MBC staff members. Most of the time this has been a harmonious fellowship, but the chronological account makes for interesting reading as the two cultures, “deaf” and “hearing,” did not always agree.
Mauricio Vargas, MBC multicultural catalytic missionary, has provided leadership for the conference since 1987. In fact, the MBCD was one of his first activities after joining the convention.
“I found an active group of Baptist leaders meeting together to share ideas and encourage each other. For the past 17 years I have seen this fellowship grow, the churches grow and multiply, and the encouragement continue,” Vargas said.
Harmony has reigned during these 17 years because Vargas recognizes the values of the deaf culture and encourages the deaf leaders to plan their programs and activities.
Joslin was commissioned by MBCD and the MBC to pen the MBCD’s history. He is a Missourian but he did not become involved with deaf ministry until he left Missouri to attend seminary in California in 1955. Through the years, he had frequent contact with Missouri Baptist deaf people. He worked closely with MBC leaders and led conferences and revivals for the deaf in Missouri Baptist churches. He returned to Missouri in 1989 and he has been deeply involved with deaf ministry in First Baptist Church, Springfield, and with the MBCD. Joslin is also the author of a sign language dictionary and textbook, and editor of two other books used by churches in their ministry with deaf people.
Ginny Redden of St. Louis is the current president of the MBCD. Anyone wanting more information about the conference may contact Vargas at 573-635-7931, or at 800-736-6227.